A happy and healthy Thanksgiving to everyone out there.
On this day of thanks, I thought it would be fun to list the 10 things I’ve been thankful for in 2008 when it comes to New York sports.
As a fan of the Mets, Jets, Knicks, Rangers, and Syracuse basketball team, I tried focusing on my teams but had to stray to come up with 10, especially with the teams’ lack of success.
10. The Major League Baseball All Star Game
I was lucky enough to be in attendance at the final All Star Game ever at Yankee Stadium. As I sat out in the left field bleachers, I couldn’t see everything, but I made sure I stuck around for all 15 innings and all five-plus hours in watching the American League pull out the victory and claim home field advantage in the World Series.
Seeing all the legends like Willie Mays and Hank Aaron was a once in a lifetime experience, and the whole night was as good as it gets for a baseball fan.
9. October Baseball without the Yankees
Now, the Mets weren’t part of the postseason either, so I know I’m opening myself up here for major criticism. However, after having to watch the Yankees extend their season for 12 years in a row, enough was enough.
The fact that the team wasn’t able to make the playoffs in the final season of their historic ballpark was icing on the cake. It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving fanbase.
Of course it only made things sweeter seeing Joe Torre get his Dodgers into the NLCS. However, his firing was still the correct decision, right George?
8. Henrik Lundqvist
I’ll admit it, I don’t watch a ton of hockey, but when I watch the Rangers, I can’t help but marvel at how dominant king Henry can be between the pipes. He stands on his head night after night keeping the team in games when the offense struggles.
Back in the spring, when the Rangers were looking to earn a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals, Lundqvist was sensational against Pittsburgh. Lundqvist led the squad when they weren’t able to capitalize on power play opportunities.
Lundqvist is quietly one of the five best athletes this city has to offer. Write it down.
7. Jonny Flynn
After two seasons of missing out on the NCAA tournament, the orange have jumped out to a 5-0 start, including road wins on back to back nights against Florida and Kansas. The big reason behind their early success has been the play of sophomore point guard Jonny Flynn, who is making a case as one of the best one-guards in all of America. His name has been mentioned in the same breath as guards like Darren Collison and Ty Lawson.
Flynn forced overtime Tuesday night with a game tying three with 6.4 seconds left. His ability to create shots for his teammates and score the basketball will make Syracuse a contender throughout the year. He’s the best pure basketball player Jim Boeheim has coached since Carmelo Anthony.
6. Leon Washington
The Jets’ most valuable player in my eyes, Washington makes something happen every game. You can pencil him in for making at least one game-changing play, whether it’s a long touchdown run or taking a kickoff back to the house.
Leon has been important in spelling Thomas Jones, and the two have formed a dynamic rushing tandem that has helped put the Jets on top of the AFC East, and in contention for a possible postseason run.
The quarterback handing Washington the ball has been a pretty big reason for their success as well, but more on him later.
5. The Escape, the Catch, the Upset
I’m not a Giants fan, but unlike the Mets-Yankees hate I’ve developed growing up, I always root for the Giants unless they’re taking on my Jets.
While my Jets were nowhere to be found in January, the Giants’ playoff run last season was something that any sports fan could appreciate. Going on the road and winning games in Tampa, Dallas, and Green Bay, when the wind chill was -20, and defeating the previously undefeated Patriots was all sorts of fun.
Of course the moment from that game that I, like everybody else, will think of first was the escape of Eli Manning and the throw and catch to David Tyree, who pinned the ball against his helmet on the Giants’ final touchdown drive, setting up the game-winning score.
The game was phenomenal, the Giants won a hard earned championship, and the Patriots were denied their piece of football immortality.
4. Johan Santana
While the Mets’ season ended up being a waste, the performance of Johan Santana was anything but that. Santana was brilliant, winning 16 games and finishing third in National League Cy Young voting.
It was his final two performances of the season, including his complete game, a three-hit shutout on the second to last game of the season (a game I was at), that electrified Mets fans and gave them hope that they would be able to avoid a second consecutive late season collapse.
Of course they didn’t, but that was no fault of Santana, who was pitching with a torn ligament in his knee. For all the prospects and money Omar Minaya and ownership gave up to bring him to Queens, and in the midst of a very disappointing season, Santana certainly shined.
3. Donnie Walsh
I could have given Isiah Thomas a spot and spoken about how I’m thankful for his removal, but I’m going to group that with Walsh. Since being hired by owner James Dolan, Walsh wasted little time in removing Thomas as coach.
Walsh not only was able to effectively end the dreadful Isiah Thomas era, but he hired a proven winner in Mike D’Antoni. He has already begun to clear cap space for when LeBron James, among others, becomes a free agent in 2010.
The trades of Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph clear nearly $28 million of cap space going into the summer of 2010, when the Knicks will be primed to start a new era with James leading the way.
Walsh would have topped my list, but still hasn’t gotten rid of Stephon Marbury, although that probably isn’t too far off from happening.
2. Shea Goodbye
I’ve been going to Shea Stadium for nearly 15 years, and at 21 years old, aside from the places I’ve called home and the classrooms I’ve been in, there isn’t a place I’ve spent more time than the former home of the Mets.
Although the season didn’t end as planned, I was able to drive home from Syracuse to attend the final three regular season games in the history of the ballpark. It was an emotional weekend, and it was great seeing the likes of Mike Piazza, Doc Gooden, and Tom Seaver one last time at Shea.
The final season at Shea also included Billy Joel as the last entertainer of the stadium, and I was lucky enough to be there when Paul McCartney came out.
All in all, some of my best memories were at Shea, and knowing I’ll never be there again to watch baseball is something that probably won’t sink in until I’m watching games at Citi Field.
1. Brett Favre
I can’t think of anything greater than one of your favorite players joining one of your favorite teams. Such was the case when, in early August, the New York Jets acquired one of the greatest to ever play the game to be their quarterback. Brett Favre was the centerpiece to an offseason makeover following a disastrous 4-12 season.
Bringing his one of a kind skills and child-like exuberance, the Jets find themselves at 8-3 and in contention for a division championship. Favre has completely changed the culture in the Jets locker room. Over the course of the season the group has come together as a unit and played the type of winning football Jets fans aren’t all accustomed used to.
Favre is easy to like and easier to root for, especially when he’s getting his team victories.
Those were the last words ever uttered on MTV’s Total Request Live by it’s beloved former host Carson Daly last night as the network laid to rest one of it’s longest running shows Sunday night with it’s “Total Finale Live” tribute show, and provided me with yet another sign that even at the ripe old age of just 21 time keeps flying by and I’m getting too old to keep up with it.
After 10 years of bringing us music videos, pop stars, rock stars, movie stars and any and everybody in between, MTV has figuratively and literally pulled the curtain down over that famous window that faces New York City’s Times Square.
When thinking back to all of those afternoons I would get home from school and flip on MTV, the first thing that comes to mind is that as a 12 year old back in 1999, watching Carson Daly (who at the time was probably as cool to a 12 year old as any professional athlete) countdown the top ten music videos was as important if not more than doing homework or chores.
For all the nonsense MTV has and continues to orchestrate, the station provided my generation with a way to virtually interact with the musicians we became (at times disturbingly) infatuated with.
A pop-culture Icon of it’s time, TRL actually started way back in 1998, when MTV decided to merge two shows, MTV Live and Total Request (the ladder hosted by Daly) and formed the mega-hit TRL which went on to be a staple of MTV’s day time line up. (information courtesy of the always reliable Wikipedia)
You may not have always liked the music or the personalities the show had on (I know I didn’t), but watching and waiting for the unexpected made the show fun, and the show itself was responsible for reintroducing pop music.
From boy-bands to Britney Spears, from Kid Rock to Korn, from Cristina Aguilera to Beyonce, from Diddy to Blink 182, from Eminem to Miley Cyrus, popular music and the many genres which it encompasses were given a platform to reach their target audiences and a way to give fans a chance to get up close and personal with their favorite performers.
Speaking of that up close and personal experience, one I unfortunately never got around to doing, the imagines of seeing Times Square completely shut down was always something to behold, as thousands upon thousands of screaming fans would line 42nd and Broadway just hoping for a chance to catch a glimpse of Justin Timberlake or Mariah Carey walk over to that now infamous window waving down to them. The musicians became idols worthy of worship, and TRL became their pyramids.
Amazingly, the show has run its course after a decade, as MTV continues to distance itself farther and farther from the very thing the network was designed to promote: music.
Focusing primarily on realty television (very little of it any good), combined with the fact that access to music videos is now possible through the internet formed the perfect storm to wash away one of the few programs which through all the craziness it experienced, gave MTV a small sense of integrity.
The final show tonight was a trip down memory lane, as they were able to bring back Carson who hadn’t hosted the show regularly since back in 2003 when he left to start his own talk-show which follows Conan on NBC.
The guest list was massive, as members of both N’SYNC and the Backstreet Boys showed up, as BSB actually performed “I Want It That Way”, which I would be flat out lying to say I didn’t enjoy hearing on TRL one final time.
Snoop, Diddy, 50 Cent, Beyonce, Fall Out Boy, Hillary Duff, Nelly, Kid Rock were among the many in attendance, while Christina and Eminem were among those who called in.
And although she wasn’t there, Britney Spears, the Princess of Pop herself, took the honors of being the final video ever to be played on TRL, as it was ranked as the number 1 song on TRL’s list of All-Time most influential videos with her classic “Hit Me Baby One More Time”.
The guests were only part of the attraction, as those who performed were great, however it was also a reunion of sorts of all of the people who have VJ’ed over the years, including people like Damien Fahey, the current host (or I guess, last host), Vanessa Minnillo, Hilarie Burton (One Tree Hill), Quddus, Sway, La-La and more.
Amazing how times have changed since TRL’s beginnings, and while I haven’t watched the show in at least five years if not more, getting a chance to turn back the clock and see Carson and the set and the crowd was very nostalgic, and surprisingly enjoyable.
Sadly, as we move further into the depths of the 21st century, MTV, which has covered everything from Super Bowl’s to Super Sweet Sixteen’s, the Real World and real life (woo MTV News!), for anybody at or around my age, MTV will always be synonymous with Total Request Live, and while I can’t say I’ll miss the show considering how long it’s been since I watched it, I certainly miss the days in which I was obsessed watching it.
Gone are the days of refusing to admit you enjoyed the Backstreet Boys and Britney, or that when they retired an NSYNC music video a small part of you was sad to see it go.
And gone is my youth, which TRL seems to have taken with it the very end of my youth.
Believe it or not, I’ll miss them both.
Last Sunday, Shea Stadium lowered it curtain for the last time, closing the book on 44 years of memories.
While the ball club crashed their own party by failing to qualify for postseason play for a second consecutive season, Sunday was as much about remembering and celebrating the life of a ballpark that saw it all, from baseball to concerts to religious royalty.
When it opened in 1964, the still infant New York Mets finally still lacked the talent to compete, but no longer lacked a home of their own.
Located on Roosevelt Avenue in Flushing, Queens, Shea and it’s surrounding area leave little to be desired aesthetically, in fact more often than not the ballpark is referred to (being kind and keeping this appropriate) an eye sore (among many other lovely names).
When stadiums and ballparks go up today, the buzz word surrounding them is often ‘state of the art’, and while the Mets new home, Citi Field, will certainly fit the description, back in 1964 upon opening, Shea already seemed to appear outdated.
It didn’t help that less than 10 miles away sat another ballpark where another New York team played. A ballpark they said was built by some guy named Ruth. A ballpark where guys proclaimed they were the luckiest man on the faith on earth”. A ballpark that saw championship flags raised and a ballpark that saw both records and legends fall.
Ok, so Yankee Stadium has the history, the mystique and aura and the ghosts.
While Shea lacked all of the above, what it had was a team that gave New Yorker’s lovable losers, who brought National League baseball back to a National League town.
Those early years were as brutal as the traffic is getting there these days, but those Metsies (as Casey Stengal lovingly referred to them as) had charm.
It didn’t take long for Shea’s theater to feature its first true performer, as the right arm of Tom Seaver toed the rubber for the first time in 1965, the same year some kids from Britain sold the place out. From what I hear, they weren’t bad.
Beatlemania was fun, but it was four years later when miracles were made.
Led by Gil Hodges, who had already captured the hearts of New Yorker’s for so many years wearing Dodger blue, made those National League holdovers proud again with an Amazin’ finish in 1969, giving Shea some much needed interior decoration.
It won’t be soon forgotten that Shea hosted football too, and the Jets flying overhead had nothing on the
Just four more years later, another New York baseball legend, who told us it wasn’t over ‘til its over, had the Mets just a win away from a second championship.
Behind a rallying call so often still uttered, the ’73 edition of the orange and blue gave us “Ya Gotta Believe”, but ultimately gave us bitter disappointment.
The next decade saw icons take their final curtain calls (Willie Mays ’72 and ‘73), and also saw hometown heroes make unexpected exits (Seaver in ’77).
As Shea was hardly enjoying its teenaged years, it would be some teenaged stars that would be called upon to revive a drowning organization.
With a Doc and a Straw, the energy was back, even if the magic wasn’t (true Mets fan will appreciate the reference to one of the teams countless ill-fated marketing campaigns).
An MVP from St. Louis along with a ‘kid’ from Montreal, and the pieces were finally in place for Shea to host another October party.
With a game six groundball and game seven comeback, Shea was once again a house of champions, and once again the center of the New York baseball universe.
Another crushing playoff defeat in ’88 saw the end of an era in Queens, as young stars were quickly becoming troubled veterans.
As disappointment turned into embarrassment, and money couldn’t buy success, the dawning of a new era was arriving in the spring of 1998.
A Piazza delivery had a rejuvenated fan base buzzing, looking to quench it’s postseason thirst.
Just a year later, it was Piazza who delivered, as Shea prepared to get ‘wild’.
Never shy from dramatic, the Amazin’s brought with them back to playoffs some magic, as the names Pratt and Ventura were forever etched into both Mets and Shea Stadium lore for homeruns and grand slam…singles.
Another year, and another trip to the playoffs, this time with a National League crown to show for it.
A meeting with those cross town rivals scheduled, with more than titles on the line.
And although a mighty drive from Mikey fell harmlessly in the glove of Bernie Williams, the Yankees may have had their three-peat, but the Mets once again had significance (hardly compensation, but important none the less.)
Fast forward another year, to events that forever changed our lives.
September 11th, 2001 saw time stand still, and when it picked up again in the baseball world, Shea Stadium would serve as 55,000 seat therapist’s office.
Whether or not we should have been there was certainly a question, but by night’s end, doubts were erased with what many agree was the most significant swing Shea ever saw.
With broken hearts beating and crying eyes watching, Mike Piazza’s 8th inning home run might have given the Mets a lead, but more than that, gave a city a much needed chance to smile.
It didn’t win a playoff series, and didn’t clinch a championship- but it didn’t have to.
That swing was about more than baseball, and for the first time since those towers had fallen, New Yorker’s spirits were lifted.
After coming up short in 2001, Shea went silent again for another 5 years, surpassing the big 4-0 without any playoff celebrations.
Before there was talk of a new ballpark, there would be talk of the “New Mets”.
A superstar shortstop and a hot corner cornerstone, along with a hall of fame ace and all star centerfielder made up the framework of a new generation in Flushing.
Led by a GM from Queens and a manager from Brooklyn, it would take only two seasons for the “New Mets” to be National League East champions, dethroning 14 years of consistency down south.
In what few expected to be its final postseason party, Shea was home to a pennant clinching celebration it hadn’t seen in 6 years.
What few also expected, was watching the winners wearing the wrong colored caps, as a called third strike would make a legendary class go for naught.
Seeing it’s replacement finally take some shape, Shea watched it’s own demise slowly resurrect in its parking lost, while it watched the demise of its favorite tenants painfully play out within its walls.
Known simply as “the collapse”, the numbers 7 and 17 would forever be infamously synonymous with the Metropolitans, having nothing to do with a shortstop or a ‘stache’.
In 2008, Shea’s swan song wasn’t the only music playing, as the Piano Man hosted Shea’s last play…twice. With the help of some friends, including one who hadn’t seen Shea’s stage since he first graced it in ’65, Billy the Kid had the house rocking like it had some 40 years before.
Two weeks ago, we bid farewell to Yankee Stadium, known to many as the House that Ruth Built and baseball’s cathedral.
Among those who called it home included the Babe and Iron Man, a Clipper and the Mick. From Reggie and Thurman, to Donnie, Derek and Mo.
That other park in town, the one with the airplanes and the one that looked like it needed to be torn down not long after it went up, might not have been built by sultan of swat, or proclaim itself as religious arena.
Among those who call IT home were Tom and Tug, Daryl and Doc, Mookie and Mike, David and Jose. Not a Hall of Fame guest list per se, but not bad either.
To those who called Shea home, this author included, it might not have been the best looking and might not have fanciest.
It might have lacked mystique and aura, and it might have lacked a pretty white facade.
For all Shea might have lacked, it made up for with its familiarity and unexplainable charm.
To those who have called Shea home for any period of time, what it lacked in physical appeal it made up for with emotional sentiment.
Although few will argue it’s no longer up to the standards set by the new era of ballparks springing up, few will also argue that Shea will be torn down not having lived the fullest of lives.
It saw baseball and football, championships and heartbreaks, religious icons and rock and roll immortals.
But most of all, it was place where millions of people would gather for whatever the reason, not caring about what that place looked like, but more just how they felt once inside.
And more often than not, thanks to 44 years of moments and memories, they felt like they were home.
“Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind”
Today marks seven years since that fateful September morning.
I’m not sure why, but seven years later, and for the first time in a number years since that tragic day I’ve been unable to get 9/11 off my mind.
It’s sort of scary how fast time has flown, but at least in my lifetime, and I’m sure this holds true for almost everybody else old enough to appreciate it, September 11th, 2001 will forever be a day nobody forgets.
You’ll never forget where were you when you first heard or saw what had happened.
You’ll never forget any of those heart wrenching images that have been forever etched into our minds.
You’ll never forget the feelings of helplessness and shock, accompanied by devastation and fear.
You’ll never forget the outpouring of spirit and resolve this country showed in the days, weeks and months following.
You’ll never forget the heroism and reaffirmed respect for the everyday people many of us to that point had taken for granted.
No, seven years later, we’ll never forget a day that in one way or another changed us for the rest of our lives.
Following the events that day in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, American citizens were given a collective wake up call, shook to their very cores and foundations, aware, perhaps for the first time, that the freedoms and liberties we’ve always overlooked were being threatened.
Personally, I was only 14, and starting my high school career.
I live in Queens, and I was on my way to school at around 9:30 (late for a city public school, but thanks to 4,500 students, I was on a split schedule which had my first class starting at 9:50).
I bring that up because when the first plane hit Tower 1 at 8:46, I was unknowingly sitting in my living room, watching SportsCenter.
I left about a half hour later to catch the bus, completely unaware of what was going on only miles away from where I live, and prepared for just another day.
I’ll never forget, nor do I think anybody else will, how stunningly perfect the weather was that day.
I can’t remember ever seeing a sky so clearly blue, and I remember pointing out to a friend of mine how gorgeous it happened to be that Tuesday morning.
Waiting for the bus, another friend of mine who was himself just arriving at the bus stop, asked me if I
had heard about what was going on at the World Trade Center, to which I naively replied no.
The bus stop happened to be at the bottom of a hill, the top of which gave (and still gives) anybody a picturesque view of Manhattan’s skyline.
We walked no more than half way up that hill, and looking out, I took what would end up being one final look at the Twin Towers.
Thick, billowing black smoke stained the cloudless sky, and for the first time in my life I was overcome by indescribable emotions.
Without knowing anything more than one of the most symbolic images I had come to know was up in flames, my friends and I got to school, where there was a surprising sense of calm, or perhaps just a widespread unawareness.
Whatever it was didn’t last long, as rumors fly through high school faster than light travels, and I can’t begin to tell you some of the absurd things students were saying.
Teachers had radios on, and there was a heightened sense of panic that began to spread.
I went to my first two classes of the day, the first of which was gym which consisted of nothing more than listening to the radio. After that was math, and for whatever reason, one of the things about that day that stands out personally was just writing the date on my page.
At that moment, scribbling 9/11/01 on the upper left hand side of my notebook page, it all sort of hit me that what was going on today was going to make this date pretty darn important.
Among the few things about that day I don’t remember was whether or not I took notes that period, although I do remember asking my teacher if he had heard anything new by the time I got there.
After that second class, my best friend Joe and I made one of those in the moment decisions I doubt either of us will ever forget. At only 14 years old, and in only our very first week in a new school, we agreed there was no way we could stay in school, completely left out in the dark with everything going on.
Both of our fathers worked in Manhattan, and his was a high ranking city government official who ended up being called down to the scene to set up a command post.
(While everybody we knew ended up being ok, we knew many others weren’t as fortunate.)
With the uncertainty on both of our minds, we walked out of school, without telling any teachers or more importantly, getting in touch with our parents, which in hindsight probably was among the dumbest decisions we could have made, especially considering his mother showed up less than an hour after we left to pick up both up.
Regardless, we walked home, and I’m typical, immature high school freshman form, I started cracking jokes, both because of how immature I know I was but also because with everything going on I figured it wouldn’t kill either of us to smile, even for a minute.
Walking from our high school to his house was anything but a short stroll, and under the circumstances that 20 minute walk felt like hours.
By the time we finally got home, only one network television station was coming in, as the antennas on top of the World Trade Center towers was used to send out those signals.
The headline running along the bottom of the screen was short but profound.
“World Trade Center Destroyed”
If you step back for a second and just think about that, seven years later it still gives you chills.
Nobody in their wildest dreams when seeing those buildings- whether it was up close visiting, noticing it from a distance or simply recognizing them as the symbolic columns of freedom they were- could have ever fathomed that in the span of less than 2 hours, they could be taken away from us.
Of course as symbolic as they were, they were merely buildings when putting in perspective the massive loss of life that day.
2,974 deaths which have been accounted for, with 24 names still considered missing (hijackers excluded). More than 6,000 injured.
Thousands more who knew these people, and millions around the world who, to this day, who had the proverbial “first day of the rest of their lives” start that morning.
In the midst of one of the most historic Presidential campaigns going on- and let me join those, particularly New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, in saying that neither Barack Obama or John McCain belong at the site today as regardless of how united they may appear (I’ll even be bold enough to say the current President has more of a right to be there than either of them)- this country deserves a day to remind itself how united WE are, and how despite the differences we have, the one thing we have in common is our privilege to call this country our own.
Seven years later, I can’t figure out why this seems to be hitting me harder than it usually does on this anniversary, but for what its worth, I stood proudly for the moment of silence my school had this morning.
I stood there remembering a day when thousands of innocent lives were lost, and millions more changed forever.
I stood there remembering the first day of the rest of my life.
I couldn’t have been much older than 12 when I first heard one of George Carlin’s famous rants about religion, stating that
“Have you noticed that most of the women who are against abortion are women you wouldn’t want to fuck in the first place? There’s such balance in nature.”
From that moment on, not only was I well on my way to developing an entirely new vocabulary my parents weren’t all too pleased with, but my view of the world would forever be changed.
Carlin was more than just a stand up comic.
His comedy was always relevant, practical and clever, and he always seemed to have a nact for saying what most people were thinking, with a few explatives mixed in here and there.
Religion and politics were the two topics which Carlin seemed to really bring out the big guns for, constantly pointing out the shortcomings of both.
Anybody who has heard of George Carlin is probably familiar with his ever infamous bit about the seven dirty words you can’t say on television.
“There are 400,000 words in the English language, and there are seven you can’t say on television. What a ratio that is! 399,993 to 7. They must really be baaaad. They must be OUTRAGEOUS to be separated from a group that large. “All of you words over here, you seven….baaaad words.” That’s what they told us, right? …You know the seven, don’t ya? That you can’t say on TV? Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits.”
I didn’t know it at the time, but all of the hours I had spent as an even younger child watching Thomas the Tank Engine on PBS was actually the first exposure I had to that distinctive, raspy voice of his, as Carlin was Mr. Conductor at Shining Time Station. Of course it wasn’t until I was older that I was able to appreciate the fact that one of the dirtiest mouths I had ever heard was also a primary figure on one of my favorite childhood shows.
Carlin is a Grammy award winner, an actor (most recently playing Ben Affleck’s father in Kevin Smith’s Jersey Girl), an author (Carlin wrote 3 books based on his comedy- Brain Droppings, Napalm and Silly Putty, When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops), but it will be his stand up comedy that will forever have Carlin remembered as an immortal presence on stage.
Interestingly, I was unaware of the fact that he was the first ever host of Saturday Night Live, which gives you only an idea of how long and how successful his career was.
He was scheduled to receive the Mark Twain lifetime achievement award for 50 years of outstanding work in comedy, and there may not be a more deserving recipient.
Comedy Central ranked Carlin as the second greatest stand up comic ever, behind only the equally as legendary Richard Prior, and while I am too young to have watched any of Prior’s comedy live, as far as im concerned, during the last 10-12 years of comedy I’ve had the privilege of watching, George Carlin was second to none.
His HBO specials were events I made sure to plan my schedules around, and listening to his CD’s in school was always a way for me to escape the pressures and endless boredom my education included.
One of my biggest regrets was never getting a chance to make it out to a show of his, despite his frequent visits to Westbury, Long Island, and with his passing, that regret only grows.
For all of his jokes, there are a number which will always stand out as far as im concerned.
I searched youtube and I probably could have posted more than 50 clips because everything he says is brilliant, but here is just a sampling of some of his work
My favorite bit of his, ranking above the 7 dirty words and anything regarding religion was his rant about airline announcements and the “safety lecture.
Religion is bullshit
George Carlin on the 10 Commandments
Little Moments We Share
Pro-Life is Anti-Woman
Saving the Planet
Carlin on how to handle death (maybe some advice for all of us)
He will forever be remembered as one of the most legendary comedic voices in history, and he will be dearly missed.
Personally, he was among my favorite entertainers, and I credit his comedy and his perspectives on heavily inspiring my own sense of humor and world views.
Thank you George Carlin, for doing nothing more than making me laugh.
You were one of a kind, and will forever be cherished.
All I ever heard going into college was that it was going to be the fastest four years of my life.
Mind you, this was 3 years ago, so at the time, you would have an easier time convincing me that iPods would be a financial and cultural disaster.
And now that you can’t walk down a block with seeing somebody foolishly swaying their head to the latest and greatest from Fergie, sure enough, the first 3 of those 4 years has gone by faster than you can say big girls don’t cry.
Backtracking, high school was also four years of my life spent in classrooms, learning, taking tests, doing home work, or at least having my parents believe all of the above was in fact taking place.
Let me tell you, there were no four years of my life that took longer to get through than high school.
Changing for gym, taking the bus until that fateful final year, hot lunch and girls making that awkward transition from “cute, going through puberty OMG are these really my boobs?” “to whorish, see through tank tops, OMG she’s sleeping with who?” all put together made up a high school experience which couldn’t end soon enough, and seemed to drag on and on and on.
So how was college going to be all that different?
If anything, living away from home, with all that extra free time was probably going to make it feel as though college was going to turn into this never ending party without parents.
Well, as I sit here, unable to sleep at 3 in the morning, I am left wondering where in fact the last three years of my college experience have gone?
It feels as though I went to bed, woke up, and while I was sleeping 6 semesters and 3 summers just vanished.
Unbelievably, when I finish my remaining work for the semester which should hit around 5 pm Monday evening, I’ll unofficially be a senior in college.
Yet I can swear to you I have vivid memories of being a senior in high school as though these memories were from 4 weeks ago as opposed to 4 years ago.
The worst part is, I understand the expression time flies when you’re having fun, because thats as true a statement as any, but my three years here at Syracuse University have hardly been non stop fun from the end of August to the beginning of May.
My first two years were filled with a relationship I was on and off with, which caused me as much stress and misery as it did enjoyment.
I’ve had a total…TOTAL of 6 different roommates during these last three years, and next year i’ll be kicking the extra point to make it a lucky number 7 during a 4 year span.
I’ve had semesters that have gone well academically (3.3 GPA first semester freshman year) and not so well (2.7 GPA second semester sophomore year).
I’ve some great professors and some downright shitty professors to go along with some easy, interesting classes and some lifeless, ‘what-on-earth-was-I-thinking-when-I-signed-up-for this- classes’ (anything in the science department)
I essentially went all of my freshman year with a handful of friends, and didn’t really ‘fit in’ with m current group of friends until the middle of last year.
I didn’t join a fraternity, as I feel as though Greek Life is the most overrated aspect of the college experience, as i don’t need letters on a sweatshirt or paddle marks on my ass to tell me I belong with a bunch of douche bags who use the word ‘bro’ in every sentence.
And so while contemplating all of this, I sit here and ask myself just where the last three years went?
I enjoy waking up and early and going to class about as much as I enjoy watching paint dry, however being a creature of habit, I am one of those people who loves routine, and hates when those routines change.
A week from now, I’ll be back home in Queens, with no more than a handful of friends in the area, and my parents once again sharing a kitchen and bathroom with me.
It hit me like a ton of bricks (did it ever occur to you that being hit with a single brick is probably painful enough…a ton of bricks would probably kill you) that after I go home, I have one more lousy year of settling back into a routine I love to hate.
I have a bunch of friends graduating, some here at Syracuse and others in schools elsewhere, and I just can’t imagine what the emotions are like, deep down knowing that the once-in-a-lifetime experience that is college is nearing its finale.
And lets face it: College is a time in our lives that is life nothing else, a time when independence, experimentation and beer all come together to produce 4 years (for most of us) that develop into lifes ultimate crossroads, where our childhoods end and our adult lives begin, whether we like it or not.
Lucky for me, I have another year of eligibility, or a year left on my contract if you will (my life works around sports metaphors, sorry).
To those graduating, I send not congratulations, but condolences on the death of your youth, which as glum as it sounds, brings plenty of positives along with it, such as being able to throw away the fake ID you’ve been carrying in your wallet for those last few years, while also putting a pretty alumni sticker on the bumper of your car.
As for me?
I’m going to work a hell of a lot harder and just enjoying the collection of moments which make up every day, as- in the spirit of the Kentucky Derby this wekeend- is coming down the stretch run, with the finish line in sight.
And my only hope is that between right now, and the time I graduate approximately an exact year from now, I’ll be able to look back and smile at the last fours of my life.
And like Ferris Bueller says…
“Life goes by pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Here’s to looking around once in a while.
Friends, it’s been too long.
Hard to believe I haven’t posted anything other than Scott’s articles for two weeks now, but ‘fier’ not (im sorry but that wont get old), I’m back with plenty to talk about.
When last we spoke, the weather outside was finally starting to get better, while I was preparing for my final week of student teaching, while also getting excited about the final home opener in the history of Shea Stadium.
Student teaching did come to an end last Friday, and never would I have thought at the beginning that I would have grown so attached to the kids I was with every day.
I keep telling people that student teaching was a lot like camp in a classroom, as I probably had far more fun than I was supposed to.
The good news is that along the way I managed to teach them a thing or two about history (a comment my professor took literally and criticized me for…”you probably want to teach your students more than a thing or two next semester” (she really said that on an evaluation of mine…I wish I was kidding).
More importantly, the following were comments made my host teacher, who was beyond incredible during the 6 and half weeks I was in his classroom…
I am really glad that you enjoyed the experience. That is my ultimate goal…I don’t think anybody learns from an unpleasant student teaching placement…
….It was a real pleasure working with you and I hope that if you need anything in the future, you will give me a call. Lastly, the biggest compliment I can think to give you is that the kids universally thought you did a great job AND knew what you were doing…”
I can’t begin to describe how good it feels to know that I did a good enough job that my kids not only thought I did well but repeatedly asked me to come back and visit, and one girl even told me to make sure I change absolutely nothing about the way I taught if I wanted to make sure I ended up being a great teacher.
I had a pretty good idea going into my placement that teaching was what I wanted to do, but it wasn’t going to be until after I actually did it that those thoughts could be confirmed. And after almost 7 weeks of doing it, I have no doubts that teaching is exactly what I want to do, and part of me is anxious to get back in front of a classroom as soon as possible.
Last week, I missed a day of student teaching due to obligations I had back home.
Since 2000, I have been at Shea Stadium for Opening Day (or the Mets home opener) for 6 of the last 8 years.
This being the final season the Mets will ever play at Shea Stadium with Citi Field opening up next season, I knew that nothing was going to stand in the way of me being there this year.
I flew home Monday night, and Tuesday morning, a beautiful April day, I woke up feeling like a little kid.
I was beyond excited, knowing that for the 7th time in 9 years, the Mets were going to play their home opener with me there, which is probably a lot more important to me than it should be.
Unfortunately, after walking out the door, nothing seemed to go right.
Getting to Shea from my apartment usually takes between 10 and 15 minutes by car, however on this day, thanks to traffic and lack of parking as a result of all the construction for the new park, I got into the car at 10 minutes after 11, and wasn’t sitting in my seat at Shea until 1:20.
I missed the pre-game ceremonies, the player introductions and the first pitch.
But ok, I was there, the weather was great and the Mets took an early lead after Carlos Delgado hit a home run.
But my seats were underneath an overhang, and there was this massive wind tunnel that seemed to situate itself in my part of the stadium, so 55 degrees felt more like 25 degrees. I spent the entire game shivering.
The icing on the cake of course was the fact that the Mets lost, something they had never done before in all my years going to Shea for opening day.
2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007, they found ways to win.
But not this year.
I wish I could say I had a good time but I would have been lying if I said so.
Hopefully the other 20 or 30 some-odd games I get out to this year turn out better than the first one did.
Ok, so I had student teaching and my last ever trip to Shea for an Opening day, but what else have I been doing thats kept me away from my readers?
The class that goes along with my placement has been without a doubt one of the worst I’ve taken at this University, and the big project we were assigned was a unit plan.
My unit was World War Two, and I needed to create 5 lessons for 80 minute periods that would cover everything from Pearl Harbor to the Atomic Bomb.
Teaching these lessons wasn’t the problem, as I was able to use a lot of my host teachers notes and resources (which made my life easy) but I had to write up these long and very detailed lesson plans to go along with them.
Long story short, two days ago I finally turned in this massive unit plan which was more than 60 pages of lesson plans, materials, procedures and lord knows what else.
But thats finally done with, and as a result the biggest assignment I had all semester is history (no pun intended) leaving me with plenty of time to enjoy the gorgeous weather that has FINALLY arrived here in Syracuse, and of course, blog away.
I know I have two weeks of American Idol to catch up on (still can’t believe one of my final four was sent home last week), along with some election discussion and the start of the NBA and NHL playoffs.
I’ve also been working on some fun stuff like a list of 20 things you probably didn’t know about me, some movie reviews, an article I read about the 20 worst fast food items you could eat, two top ten lists (memories at Shea Stadium and Disney Movies…yes…Disney movies) and plenty more.
It’s good to be back, and I hope everyone is out enjoying the beautiful weather.
…just don’t forget to check back every once in a while!!
I put some seriously thought into writing a long entry about something completely fictional, you know, like I found out I’m passing math (which to date I actually am) or I woke up realizing I’ve had a secret love for the Yankees all my life, but I couldn’t come up with anything worthwhile.
I actually tried to have a little bit of April Fool’s fun in school this morning. When one of my students walked in, I told him he needed to clear his desk and prepare for a pop quiz, however his general lack of interest (which the entire class seems to share) made it tough to surprise them or ‘fool’ them, so that plan was quickly aborted.
I could have sworn weather.com was messing with me when I woke up, because the temperatures outside in Syracuse were expected to approach 60 degrees.
Considering today is the first day of April, that probably doesn’t sound like anything special, however let me put this into some context for you:
Syracuse, located in the very lovely geographic location of Central New York, gets two types of seasonal weather, along with a week here and there of something else.
In relation to the school year, the end of August through early October is very hot, and very much summer. For maybe a week or two in October, we get something that resembles fall, with temperatures dropping into the somewhat comfortable 50’s. From The end of October through the end of March (and even into April), the bitterly cold Winter descends upon us, and it’s generally rather unforgiving.
Last year for example, the middle of April brought us a foot of snow.
This past winter, which the calendar would claim ended two weeks ago, gave us a reasonable amount of snow (winter last year was worse in terms of snowfall), however temperatures were consistently hovering below 0, and waking up before the sun came up and driving my icebox of a car to school for the last month was always an adventure.
When April rolls around, the expectation is warmer temperatures and the disappearance of snow comes as sort of a prerequisite.
However that’s rarely been the case since I’ve been a student here.
In three years here, I can count on one hand the number of beautiful spring days I’ve been able to experience.
I’m talking about a 65 degree day, with the sun out, no rain or humidity.
I’m talking about wearing shorts and long sleeves, and having a breeze blowing just strong enough to make you think twice about MAYBE throwing on a sweatshirt.
Not in Syracuse.
Today, as I said, the forecast called for temperatures in the high 50’s.
Now on the plus side, at noon, my computer was telling me that it was actually 61 degrees outside.
Unfortunately, those 60 degree temperatures were accompanied with overcast skies and humidity that screamed “rain is on the way”.
Making it worse, the forecast for tomorrow calls for the temperatures to drop back down to around 40, with *GET THIS*, early morning snow.
So while I was unable to really make anything of this April Fools day, Mother nature clearly did her best to take advantage of it.
Walking around campus without a jacket on for the first time since baseball season ended is something I don’t plan on getting used to.
It’s April, it’s Syracuse, and the only fool today would be me for thinking I haven’t seen the last of winter.
Oh the joys of upstate New York.
Enough is enough already.
The steroids scandal which has been the unpoppable zit on the face of baseball continue to fill with puss, and that puss as far as i’m concerned is making that zit bigger and bigger thanks to one man in particular.
Because I am editorializing, I will come out and say right off the bat that I don’t like Clemens as a player and I like him even less as a person.
However until the release of the Mitchell Report in which his name was by far the biggest surprise to most, I was still willing to give the man credit for being one of the greatest pitchers in history.
Unfortunately, the whispers which have followed Clemens for much of the ladder half of his career grew just would not go away, and so his reputation along with his ticket to the Hall of Fame seem to be slipping out of his reach faster than that shattered bat he mistakenly took for a ball during the 2000 World Series.
Now it doesn’t take somebody with any sort of knowledge in sports or even the human body to tell how Rocket’s body has undergone a similar trajectory as Steroid Poster Boy Barry Bonds.
Of course another question raiser for Clemens is his longevity and continued success as he entered his 40’s.
There were certainly factors at play which contributed to his career being so successful as he entered the tail end of hsi career, whether it was his insane work out regiment (steroids or no steroids the man has always been in great shape) not to mention the fact he switched leagues and joined the lighter hitting, pitcher friendy National League where facing 8th and 9th hitters is always a break from a designated hitter.
However, even if you were on the fence as to whether or not Clemens was in fact guilty of using performance enhancing drugs or HGH, you have to look no further than the actions (or inactions) that have taken place since the release of the now infamous Mitchel Report.
Whlie it came as no shock to see names like Bonds and Giambi in the report, there were a pair of Pinstripes which raised eyebrows. Aside from the inclusion of Clemens, the name of teammate Andy Pettitte was really out of the blue and caught everybody off guard.
Now i ripped Andy Pettitte a few months ago for his actions, even though he apologized and took responsibility for his wrongdoings. However the more i thought about it, the more I realized that while there is really no way to make up for cheating, the man did deserve some credit for doing what most other accused players could not, which was to stand up and take some blame.
However, any respect I had for Andy Pettitte (and we’re not talking about a whole lot) went completely out the window tonight as it came out that he has decided not to testify on Wednesday in front of a Congressional Committee.
In chosing not to do so, Pettitte is avoiding the awkward situation of having to answer questions about his good buddy’s alleged steroid use, which Clemens of course has denied.
Now the real twist here is that the Mitchell Report brought to light the fact that Pettitte and Clemens were sort of in the whole thing together, as it was the same trainer who gave the information to Senator Mitchell. The report alleges that Clemens was injected with HGH over a dozen times, while it has also been brought to the forefront that the two reportedly spoke about the use with one another.
The following appears in Tuesday’s Newsday:
According to sources, McNamee has told investigators that in the winter of 2002 he, Clemens and Pettitte were working out together at the gym in Clemens’ Houston home. The sources said McNamee claims that during a break in the workout, Pettitte went over to McNamee by himself and asked: “How come you don’t give me the stuff you give Roger?” McNamee supposedly replied, “Because it’s illegal.”
Pettitte has already admitted to his use, yet Clemens continues to deny, deny deny.
Further adding to the Clemens saga is the fact that he seemed to make a complete ass out of both himself and members of this Congressional Committee last week when he personally went to meet the men who hold Clemens’ fate in their own hands. Using his celebrity status, these Congressional Members seemed as interested in taking his picture and getting an autograph as they did in the facts at hand.
The one thing which continues to bother me in this whole thing was the delayed reaction by Camp Clemens following the release of the report.
As has been the case with all of these athletes involved in the steroids scandal, if you were accused and have nothing to hide, get your face in front of a camera and tell us the things being said about you aren’t true.
Plain and simple. Not bullshit. No wavering.
However Clemens waited. And waited. And waited.
Finally, he came out and made a foolish video proclaiming his innocence.
He then released a recorded conversation between himself and trainer Brian Mcnamee in which McNamee continues to ask Roger what to do, and Roger is only able to respond by saying “do what’s right” and to ‘tell the truth’.
But he waited, maybe at the request of his overpaid legal team, however since the release of the report Clemens has done little if not anything to help himself in this situation.
And on Wednesday, when he appears before this joke of a Congressional Committee, it won’t be his appearance which generates the most publicity, it will be the absence of Pettitte which is heard loudest.
Pettitte chosing to avoid throwing Clemens under the bus proves two things-
The first is that Pettitte is absolutely gutless.
I can appreciate sticking up for a friend, however when it comes to a situation like this, Pettitte had the chance to not only set the record straight about Clemens, but win himself back a lot of credibility he desperately needs. Pettitte has admitted to his own use, and was given the chance to confirm what was already written, however is hiding like a coward.
The second thing Pettitte’s absence on Wednesday proves, at least as far as i’m concerned, is that Clemens is as guilty as the day is long. By avoiding the questions, Pettitte is avoiding the power to destroy the life and career of his friend, which unfortunately does nothing but create a much darker cloud of guilt over Clemens.
And so as the 2008 baseball season is on the horizon, the career and legacy of Roger Clemens seems to be falling off it.
It’s really a shame because Clemens, for as big a prick as he is, probably could have gone about handling this whole situation in a way which might have salvaged his immortality.
Instead, being the big competitive jock he is, he had to come out swinging, and the most ironic thing of all is that Clemens, in all likelihood, will suffer the same fate as many of the batters hes faced throughout his career.
Swinging and missing.
The first bit of exciting news I would like to point out is that my roommate and good friend Matt Bravmann admitted to me last night he occasionally dabbles in reading my blog. So while my other roommate Mike continues to be an unsupportive bastard, at least I got one of them hooked. And by hooked I mean mildly interested when he has absolutely nothing else to do with his time. Either way, I’ll take it.
I got back to school last Sunday and with classes beginning for me at 8:25 Monday morning, there was no time for me to readjust. And so the week began with a 2 hour education class I have already deemed utterly worthless, as we are treated like 3rd graders by my professor who is downright out of her mind. In the 2 hours of class, we get 120 minutes of straight nonsense, without a break, and without anything meaningful being absorbed by anybody in the classroom.
In addition, we were treated with the standard first day ice breakers, and the ice breaker which I enjoyed the most was having a student pick a card out of a box with a random question on it. The three questions selected were:
-If you had one picture left on a camera and good take a picture of anything or anyone in the world, past or present, what would you take a picture of?
-If you were stranded on an island and could have only one book with you, what would it be?
-If you could meet and spend time with one person or a group of people, past or present, who would it be?
My way of dealing with these ridiculous attempts to have uninterested, half-sleeping 20 year olds get to know each other is by not taking the activity seriously and coming up with answers which if nothing else will get a few laughs from the audience. And with that in mind, these were my answers:
Picture- Gerry McNamara (most people chose things like their family or a picture from the top of Mount Everest while I chose a former Syracuse University basketball player)
Book- Goosebumps Night of the Living Dummy (most people again chose something like a bible, or catcher in the rye- noteworthy literature. I chose the first and only book I have read and enjoyed cover to cover)
Person- Jesus Christ. While some people in the class took my answer seriously, they clearly were unaware of my Jewish heritage and accompanying belief that Jesus means as much to me as keeping Kosher meant to Hitler. The other answers in the class ranged from famous musicians or people like the Pope or Mother Theresa.
It was a good time, and you had to be there to appreciate it.
The rest of my week as far as classes were concerned was more or less uneventful. I went to Math and was reminded why I dropped it a year ago. I was lost within the first 10 minutes, and despite taking notes and paying attention, asking me to tell you what I learned would be speechless. I have no idea what I learned, or how im pulling off a C in this class.
My schedule breaks down as such- 3 education classes and a math class (I dropped my history class after the first day because my professor was having us write a 3 page paper for every class we missed, regardless of reason. I also had 18 credits on my schedule, and with student teaching this semester I wasn’t in the mood to work that hard for a class I didn’t care about.
And speaking of student teaching, I went to my placement school and met the teacher I will be working with for 7 weeks, and he is a really nice, down to earth, laid back guy who seems to be exactly the kind of teacher I want to be. I’ll stop short of hoping he becomes a sort of mentor of mine (yes, another Scrubs reference, get used to them) but he definitely has the style and demeanor I want to have, and the kids seemed to really like him.
The best part of student teaching is that while it is 5 days a week for 3 hours in the morning, it takes the place of my 8:25 class 3 days a week, and despite the extra 2 days a week, its a move I am ecstatic to make.
Overall being back at school has gone about as well as I could have hoped, so hopefully things continue to progress accordingly.
And just when you thought I was wrapping up this post, I’m just getting started.
The weather this week has been miserable, and while I realize I go to Syracuse, the cold weather and snow is difficult to get used to. Combine that with the fact that before i got back up here I had 2 weeks of temps anywhere from the high 30s to 60, having constant 20s with snow and wind has forced me back into hibernation mode.
The plus side to that is the additional TV I get to watch, but thanks to the ongoing writers strike that has taken a hit.
As i pointed out a few posts ago, 24 was supposed to have debuted last Sunday, but instead Fox premiered the Sarah Connor Chronicles, which is as appealing to me as eating cold stone without my lactaid pills. Yea, you do the math.
And while I was left without 24, I was reminded why Fox is still my go-to network in the spring, because the 7th season of American Idol started up this past week. And nobody was happier than I was, because over the past two years I have transformed into a complete die-hard Idol fan, and so getting 4 hours over 2 nights of Ryan, Randy, Paula and Simon was music to my ears, literally and figuratively.
My early thoughts are that Simon seems to be in as good a mood as he has ever been, and the talent itself has yet to really blow me way. I think the judges feel some pressure after the Sanjaya debacle last year, then again with what they are making I doubt they honestly care. That being said, while the 2 nights provided the usual freaks and nut-jobs, not to mention a memorable performance by the Asian guy the 2nd night at the end singing to Simon about being Brothers forever (check it out on youtube if they have it), Idol seemed to lack the punch it has had in the past. Its only the first week, and I’m sure between now and the finale and June, there will be plenty to talk about.
At this point I know 24 wont be on for a long, long time and while shows like American Idol are unaffected, this writers strike continues to be a pain in the ass, and with new Scrubs episodes airing this Thursday, I am getting more and more concerned the final season of this show is going to be ruined somehow. It also shows you how dependent I am on television, as most people could probably care less when it comes to how long this strike will continue.
Has anybody else noticed the assortment of crap playing at the movies these days? At the top of my list is Cloverfield, which actually got a handful of good reviews looks absolutely dreadful, and after hearing the credits roll only just over 70 minutes in, the Godzilla-Independence Day combination of garbage that is Cloverfield is one movie I’ll be missing out on. Elsewhere, 27 Dresses looked like it had potential after the first preview I saw, but the more I saw the more it looks like the most stereotypical romantic comedy with predictable dialogue and an ending we can all assume is happily ever after. Other movies out right now I wont be wasting my money on: One Missed Call (why was this movie made), First Sunday (I have nothing against a good black comedy- Barbershop was awesome- but this looks painfully bad), and even though its no longer age appropriate- Alvin and Chipmunks, which is certainly a questionable career choice for the very talented Jason Lee.
Finishing off with some random thoughts:
-doing laundry at school compared to having my mother do it for me at home is a harder transition than waking up at 7:30 in the morning.
-The Knicks actually won 3 games in a row
-I still don’t care, and fans still need to stop showing up
-Dining hall food here at Syracuse might be the biggest rip off in the $40,000+ we pay to go here. The biggest insult is that I am being FORCED to pay for a 5 meal a week plan despite the fact I have a kitchen on my floor and no desire to step foot in another dining hall between now and the time I graduate.
-I spent last Sunday in the house I will be living in next year, and I am counting down the days until I can call it my own (even if its only for 10 months)
-Being an education major is a joke, and anybody capable of reading a textbook and writing the English language on a blackboard is qualified to teach.
Last but not least, my NFL Championship Sunday picks..
Through the first two rounds of the Playoffs, I have a combined record of 7-1. And while I am a Jets fan at heart, I am also biased towards the Giants and root for them game in, game out with the lone exception being the one time every 4 years the Jets and Giants meet.
That being said, I did not take my rooting interest into picking them 2 weeks in a row, and I will continue to pick according to my gut.
The Championship games come loaded with great story lines.
The first and biggest of course is the now 17-0 Patriots looking to continue their run of perfection into Super Sunday against a Chargers team who is coming off an upset of the Peyton Manning led Colts. The Chargers have been running their mouthes and talking a big game, but the status of starters Phillip Rivers and Ladanian Tomlinson is up in the air, although I would be shocked if both don’t play.
The Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field will be exactly that tomorrow, with Temperatures expected to be below zero. The crusty old veteran Brett Favre looks to continue his magically season with a 3rd Super Bowl appearance, while little bro Manning looks to match big bro’s heroics last season. Eli, after all the criticism he has taken, has Big Blue on the verge of one of the more unlikely Super Bowl runs in history.
And so without further adieu, the picks:
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS @ NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
SUNDAY 3:00, CBS
Pats over Chargers, final score 31-21
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
NEW YORK GIANTS @ GREEN BAY PACKERS
SUNDAY 6:30, FOX
Packers over Giants, final score 17-14
I would be surprised if the Patriots don’t take care of business, however anything can happen in negative 12 degree Green Bay, and with the Giants making it as far as they have, I hope my prediction is wrong, and Eli and the Giants get a second chance to put an end to New England’s pursuit of perfection, while doing it on the biggest stage of them all.
Regardless of what happens, one way or the other, it should be a great day of football i’m sure will be one of the more memorable in recent history.